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Digital policy integration is key to 'smart places', says Socitm

Local public leaders need to bring together an area's natural resources and economic strengths with an appropriate technical architecture to 'smart' places - whether cities, regions or rural areas, according to a new briefing by the Society for IT Management (Socitm). And failure to develop a smart vision will prejudice the wellbeing and life chances of citizens, according to Smart places: smart infrastructure, systems or people? While designing a 'smart place' requires much more than a technological infrastructure, the local authority CIO or head of ICT has a vital role to play in integrating digital possibilities with a community's physical plans for buildings and infrastructure, the report says. Thinking about the exploitation of information assets is another part of the ICT leader's contribution, it says. The briefing draws on ideas in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills publication Smart Cities: Background paper and highlights new publications from the British Standards Institute, including its Smart cities framework. Overall, says the briefing, 'smart' is typified by a citizen-centred approach, embedding openness and sharing and exploiting the opportunities that information and technology provides to improve people's lives. The 'smart' vision should provide a flexible framework within which planning and innovation can be nurtured, it says. Smart places: smart infrastructure, systems or people? is available free of charge to Socitm Insight subscribers.
Pictured: Integrated technology: Tokyo monorail by jon/Wikimedia Commons


Relaunch for 'Civic Exchange' European civic software site

A pan-European platform designed to showcase and promote the reuse of civic software - software designed to help local councils find impactful digital solutions to civic issues - has been relaunched with a new name, 'Civic Exchange'. The website, formerly called Europe Commons, first went live in the autumn. UK supporters include the innovation charity Nesta, as part of that organisation's Code for Europe programme. Examples of software promoted on the platform include the Patchwork tool used by Brighton & Hove and Staffordshire councils that connects different services working with the same clients for better multi-agency communication, and a Budget Simulator app used by Liverpool, Warrington and other councils to build citizen engagement with budget planning. The site is also inviting people to send in suggestions for new apps and services to add.
Civic Exchange:

More than 6 million UK adults remain offline, stats show

Some 6.4 million adults (13%) have still never used the Internet, according to the latest Internet Access Quarterly Update (Q1 2014) statistical bulletin from the Office for National Statistics. However, this number has fallen by 659,000 since the same period last year, it finds. Some 44.6 million adults (87%) in the UK had used the Internet in Q1 2014, an increase of 1.1 million since Q1 2013. Almost all 16 to 24 year olds (99%) had used the Internet in this period, compared with 37% of adults aged 75 years and over. Men (89%) were more likely to be Internet users than women (85%).
Internet Access Quarterly Update:

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